Head of Icelandic Football Association Resigns

Guðni Bergsson.

Guðni Bergsson. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Vala Hafstað

Guðni Bergsson, head of the Icelandic Football Association (KSÍ), announced his resignation yesterday, following strong criticism of the association’s reaction to allegations of sexual offenses and violence, Morgunblaðið reports. The issue dominated the news all weekend after a victim stepped forth and alleged that a member of the Icelandic men’s national soccer team had assaulted her at a bar in 2017. She stated that Guðni was aware of the case, contrary to what he asserted on the RÚV news program Kastljós Thursday night. In an interview on Stöð2 news Saturday, she stated she knew of up to seven current or former national team members who have been accused of violence.

Klara Bjartmarz, managing director of KSÍ, states that clearly, the association has not kept up with developments in society in recent years. “We’re shocked, and all we can do is to apologize and improve our conduct,” she states.

Klara Bjartmarz, right, managing director of KSÍ.

Klara Bjartmarz, right, managing director of KSÍ. mbl.is/Sigurður Unnar

The association posted the following statement on its website yesterday:

“Dear victims, we [o]n the board of the Icelandic Football Association believe in you and sincerely apologize to you. We know that we as guarantors have failed you and we intend to do better. The government has met in recent days about the serious allegations that have been made [against] the union recently about [its] silence [regarding allegations of] sexual offenses. We take the matter very seriously. Work is already underway with external professionals to review all responses to sexual offenses and violence within the movement and how support was and will be provided to victims. An expert group will be set up and the KSÍ board is called upon to take these matters seriously and firmly and follow the professional group’s recommendations. We would also like to ask victims or others who have information about serious violence within the movement to contact us.”

“We are going to fix the things that have gone wrong,” the statement continues, “and look at the culture that exists within the football movement from the bottom up, with the aim that everyone involved in its work will experience well-being and security, while listening to victims and taking [their interests] into account.”

In order to ensure the continuous operation of the association, the board members have decided to remain on the board until the next annual meeting, to be held in February.




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